Venice’s smallest but foremost sestiere (district) named after the city’s patron saint is bounded by the Grand Canal on all but one side, which explains the number of stately palaces in the area. It revolves around Piazza San Marco and the majestic Doge’s Palace, the political and legal core of the city until the 18th century. Running off the square are the Mercerie and Calle Larga XXII Marzo, offering wall-to-wall designer shopping. But beyond that San Marco has a residential air, with a great range of places to eat. Don’t hesitate to wander down minor alleyways: surprises include unusual wellheads and many craft workshops.